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Elon Musk Refuses to Denounce Antisemitism on X, Despite Israeli PM’s Call

Elon Musk Refuses to Denounce Antisemitism on X, Despite Israeli PM’s Call

In a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Elon Musk yesterday, the X owner refused to publicly denounce antisemitism, which has grown immensely over the last year on the social media platform.

This encounter, held at a Tesla factory in California that was live-streamed on X, was originally intended to discuss artificial intelligence. However, the conversation quickly veered into the topic of antisemitism.

During the meeting, Netanyahu publicly urged Musk to condemn antisemitism and take action against the surge in hate speech and attacks targeting Jewish communities since his acquisition of the platform a year ago.

“I hope you can find within the confines of the First Amendment the ability to stop not only antisemitism, or roll it back as best you can, but any collective hatred of the people that antisemitism represents,” Netanyahu said to Musk. “I encourage you to find the balance. It’s a tough one.”

However, Musk’s response disappointed many as he sidestepped Netanyahu’s call to denounce anti-Jewish hatred on his platform. Musk, while expressing his personal opposition to antisemitism, emphasized the importance of free speech.

“Free speech does at times mean that someone you don’t like is saying something you don’t like,” Musk explained. “If you don’t have that, then it’s not free speech.”

Musk’s reluctance to condemn antisemitism directly left many observers frustrated, especially as he continued to sidestep the conversation.

“Generally, I mean, I’m sort of against attacking any group,” Musk said. “You know, it doesn’t matter who it is.

“I’m in favor of that which furthers civilization and which ultimately leads us to become a spacefaring civilization, where we understand the nature of the universe,” he continued. “So we can’t do that if there’s a lot of infighting and, you know, hatred and negativity. So, you know, obviously I’m against antisemitism. I’m against anti, really, anything that promotes hate and conflict.”

Netanyahu, however, pushed back on Musk’s response.

“It doesn’t stop you from coming out, as you have, as I do in every possible form, and condemn antisemitism,” Netanyahu said. “The condemnation is quite separate from the question of access.”

For Netanyahu, this meeting was an opportunity to counter criticism regarding his efforts to reform Israel’s judiciary, which had raised concerns among international investors and the tech community that has played a crucial role in Israel’s rise as a “start-up nation.” Netanyahu sought to encourage Musk to invest in Israel, emphasizing the significance of his contributions to the field of artificial intelligence.

On the other hand, Musk aimed to address allegations of antisemitism stemming from his previous posts, where he targeted the Anti-Defamation League and threatened to sue the organization after ADL leaders who have accused Musk of fueling hate both online and offline.

Musk’s series of posts targeting the ADL had significant repercussions, leading to a string of online attacks against the organization and the use of a hashtag he amplified at a white supremacist rally in Florida. X is currently contemplating whether to sue the ADL over what it claims are false allegations about the extent of hate speech on the platform.

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